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Ex-world champion Chakhoyan banned

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SYDNEY, Australia -- Former world champion weightlifter Sergo Chakhoyan has been banned for life after a second doping offence, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority announced on Thursday.

ASADA said Chakhoyan had tested positive for the banned stimulant benzylpiperazine (BZP) during the Commonwealth, Oceania and South Pacific championships at Melbourne in October 2005.

Chakhoyan, 37, had previously been suspended for two years after testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane.

Under world anti-doping rules, a second offence incurs an automatic life ban.

"This was a case where the athlete took a prohibited substance immediately prior to or during a competition without any apparent regard as to whether the substance was prohibited in competition," the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) said in a statement released by ASADA.

"When viewed in the totality of the circumstances and taking into account the criteria for no fault or negligence, the respondent's fault or negligence was significant."

Chakhoyan was born in Armenia but moved to Australia in 1997 and competed for his adopted country at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. He won the 85 kilogram world title in 2003.

Chakhoyan is one of four Australian weightlifters to test positive for benzylpiperazine in the last 18 months, prompting ASADA to launch an investigation into weightlifting in Australia.

Chakhoyan represented Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

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